Liikennematto released into early access!

Build the roads and the town comes to life

Liikennematto is a tiny simulation game for children and grown-ups alike. The gameplay is simple: you only build the roads! Lots, buildings and their residents pop up after. You can play Liikennematto in the browser, and it works great on mobile too.

Liikennematto was released into early access on last Friday, 11 November. In this post I'll describe the path to release and the aftermath.

Long road to release

I've been working on the game part-time since early 2020 - for almost three years now. Liikennematto is the first game I've built. I'm a  software developer by trade and had some time to spare in the evenings and weekends. About five months after I began, I became a father. Since then I've had more inspiration but less time!

As it happens, Liikennematto is strongly inspired by kid's traffic mats. Their wonky mixed perspective buildings, bright colors and simplicity are attractive. There are a bunch of realistic, large-scale city builders out there. I think there's room for a tiny and friendly town builder.

Liikennematto began as a turn-based prototype. I wanted to explore the traffic simulation in a way that's easy to understand. Cars took their turns to see which rules applied to them (signal lights, collision, etc.) and chose the correct action.

At early access launch Liikennematto has detailed real-time simulation, pathfinding, multi-phase collision avoidance and advanced behavior like parking.

Take a moment to compare the first prototype and the current version:

A look back on the launch

I didn't expect Liikennematto to get much attention. There are many great games released into daily, and not all of them can shine brightly at once.

Yet during the weekend the itch page was visited more than 300 times, and even better, the game was played for well over 200 times, which fills me with delight. This is not much by AA(A) standards, I know, but it is a lot for a humble town builder like LM.

I also received heart-warming feedback on Twitter, Mastodon and in the Elm community (Liikennematto has a custom game engine written in the Elm programming language). I was worried about what people think of the art style and if the gameplay is as engaging as I'd hoped it to be. With this encouragement, I'm happy to keep on developing the game.

What's next

The simulation is much more advanced than the procedural generation of lots and buildings. I'm going to expand the procgen to add some tile-size decorations (like stand-alone trees and foliage) and to better react to road network changes. Then there's more content to create. More buildings, car variety, sounds and maybe something unexpected!

The UI will be eventually rehauled. The most common critique is how the dynamite tool is a little too powerful. Maybe folks would like to confirm before sending the town into a void.


I want to thank all of the people who supported me during the development. This includes Twitter mutuals, friends, colleagues, my wife, and the Elm community. I often sought advice on game design, physics, advanced geometry, linear algebra, and feedback on the overall progress. Liikennematto used Kenney assets for roads and cars before I drew the original assets (cars still are based on a Kenney design).
I took a lot of inspiration from AI for Games, Third Edition and the pathfinding algorithm is based on Red Blob Games pseudocode.

Files 437 kB
Nov 07, 2022

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